The thoughts of Soldotna High School’s graduating class were filled with college, work, vacations, the Lower 48 and sleeping in at their commencement Monday, but the ceremony was marked with the reminder that they can always call themselves Soldotna High School Stars.
From the processional, where students waved to their friends and family throughout the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex, to valedictorian Brian Dusek’s speech, which was riddled with inside jokes, the graduating class wore their familiarity on their gowns’ sleeves.
“Our class hasn’t been well liked — remember when we were told we were the worst class ever?” Dusek asked during his speech, right after handing out homemade cookies to each graduate to thank them for continuing to listen to him talk over the years.
The graduating class includes some of the last students to call themselves Skyview High School students, after Kenai Peninsula Borough School District reconfigured the district at the end of 2014, but at Monday’s commencement they were all SoHi graduates.
“Tonight we have reached the summit together…” Dusek said before channelling his inner nineties’ frontman with lyrics from Smash Mouth’s 1999 hit song “All-Star.” “So, hey now, you’re an all-star, get your game on, go play…”
And, some SoHi Stars are planning on getting their game on.
“I’ll be going to the University of Oregon and joining the acrobats and tumbling team,” graduate Alexis Terra said. “I’m super excited, but most excited about being a student athlete.”
As Harwell belts in his hit song, “you’ll never know if you don’t go, you’ll never shine if you don’t glow,” each SoHi graduate is now ready to go and follow their path, according to the evening’s keynote speaker Alaska Teacher of the Year and SoHi Engligh teacher James Harris.
“This is what education has to offer you — a choice,” Harris told the students, and although their choices may not be definite yet, there is an array of possibilities awaiting them.
“It’s either Oregon or here, in Soldotna, but I want to go to college and major in psychology,” graduate Madi Whittenberg said.
“It’s boring, it’s not as exciting as other people who say they’re going out of state or this or that, but I’m going to Kenai Peninsula College for a year to get my general requirements out of the way,” Glaves said.
Dusek and his peers are channelling their inner “All Star,” perhaps with the exception of “hitting the ground running,” because it seems that no matter where they end up following their commencement, most graduates are excited to shut off the alarm clocks.
“I’m looking forward to sleeping in. No more high school, no more early mornings,” graduate Tarrell Hoch said.
The 2017 Soldotna High School graduates include Ethan Dunn, Trenity Griffin, Judah Aley, Hallie Allen, Grace Alvey, Trinity Ames, Melinda Anderson, Corey Angeles-Hanson, Denauli Asbell, Andreas Asimakopoulos, Austin Asp, Brenna Belluomini, Andrea Best, Kaelyn Birch, Jackson Blackwell, Jayvan Blackwell, Jonathan Boone, Ryan Boyer, Elena Bramante, Nessa Brandt, Sierra Brooks, Clayton Brown, Ethan Brown, Laura Bruce, Arianna Burcham, Marshal Cameron, Alloha Cana, Afton Carlson, Christian Carr, Catherine Carroll, Alyssa Corbin, Catherine Craig, Jacob Creglow, Matthew Daugherty, Daniel Davis, Alaric DeGross, Addison Downing, Rylee Downs, Brian Dusek, Taylor Earll, Hunter Emery, Heather Engle, Raven Eppler, Molly Erickson, Isaac Estes, Sara Faris, Sarah Federle, Devin Fena, Eric Fiebelkorn, James Fiebelkorn, Keenan Foster, Jasmyn Foust, Ava Gabler, Rebecca Gamble, Carajean Gibbons, Philip Gibson-Platt, Kinley Glaves, Athena Glidewell, Benjamin Godfrey, Alex Goodermote, Brendan Hanson, Shayla Hardcastle, Charles Harpole, Judah Harshman, Shane Heiman, Levi Hensley, Torri Hensley, Roman Herr, Megan Herrick, Henry Hilbrink, Sabrina Hilbrink, Arianna Hiler, Renee Hinz, Tarrell Hoch, Tannan Holland, Chase House, Lucero Hugarte, Natalee Johnson, Capri Jones, Kelli Kay, Jayce Kemp, Samuel Keyes, Hannah Kilfoyle, Chloe Kincaid, Madeline Kleinschmidt, Brandt Krieger, Abigail Kruse, Riley Kruse, Jazilyn Larrow, Isaac Larson, Jackson Larson, Phillip Lawton, Jordan Lincoln, Collin Lindley, Morganne Linville, Ember Lohrke, Al Maal, Kyle Marcuson, Hanna Marsh, Carlene Marshall, Bryce Martin, Ragan Martin, Leah McCabe, Alicia McLelland, Ronald Meehan, Ayanna Miller, Jennifer Morris, Dylan Morse, Talon Musgrave, Haley Newton, Tehya Nichols, James Oglesbee, Karrie Olson, Kaylena Olson, Alexis Osborn, Dakota Poppenhagen, Dennis Poquette, Annie Quinn, Savanna Ratky, Trevor Reid, Christopher Reynolds, Juanita Rincon, Wade Rosin, Emma Rue, Kody Salinas, Jake Samson Cain, Noah Schmelzenbach, Logan Schoessler, Austin Schrader, Hannah Selden, John Shepard, Brianna Sipes, Atom Skiba, Terence Slats, Bryan Sledge, Myah Smith, Sophia Sorensen, Trevor Speakman, Piercen Sproul, Jonathan Standerfer, Kianna Steadman, Dylan Stockdale, Brody Storms, Kennedy Stovall, Joseph Street, Caitlin Sturman, Jeremiah Swensen, Johnathan Tanape, Jaryn Tanner, Alexis Terra, Taeryn Thomas, Richard Topp, Gabriela Triana, Travis Troxell, Joshua Tugan, Arend Turner, Abigayle Tuttle, James Tuttle, Kellsi Ulrich, Jace Urban, Abraham Van Hout, Colton Walkden, Chantel Warfield, Cody Watkins, Andrew West, Madison Whittenberg, Paul Wilcox, Madison Willets, Trevor Witthus, and Drewe Zeek.
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